A message from Brazil for Sean Penn

Good luck to the boys and girls from Brazil who made a movie. They want Sean Penn to pop down for the premier. And why not? Ariel, you’re an inspiration.

Vem Sean Penn.

Looking for Suffering in All the Wrong Places

People with disabilities inspire fear and disgust in the able-bodied because they seem to suggest the limits to this promise. But research shows a dramatic difference between non-disabled people’s perception of the quality of life of people with disabilities and the way people with disabilities describe themselves.

That’s a quote from an article that’s a bit longer, on HuffPo Religion, by Rachel Adams. Full article is here and it’s really worth a read. Thoughtful, perceptive, pulling no punches and clarifying, certainly for me, some elementary stuff that we sometimes need reminding about, especially in this big world of normals.

A girl speaks out for her brother about ‘retarded’

Thanks Regan. Your brother and you are clearly a wonderful pair of people. And thanks to Max’s mum for tweeting the link. Without whom etc. 🙂

Miles from home

Look at the beam of orange light towards the right side of the picture. A tiny bit further than halfway down, there’s a speck. Don’t try to brush it off. That’s home, when you point your camera at Earth from 3, 762,136,324 miles away. It was taken by Voyager 1 just before it travelled beyond the edge of our system, sometime in 1990. Carl Sagan, genius astronomer and astrophysicist, wrote about it with much more penetrating elegance than I could.

‘From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.’


It seems foolish to hate someone because of the colour of their skin, or how they get on their knees to pray, or who they want to love, or whether they’re going to need more time to catch up because they’re slower at some things. Yet we continue to do all these things, these things that sap the tiny battery that we each are given, and are beyond fortunate to get.

When I grow up I want to be like Kerry Hincka

I’m an advertising copywriter. I write ads. Radio ads. Posters. TV ads. Stuff on websites. Cars. Lawnmowers. Toothpaste. Tomato ketchup. It’s a very self-absorbed world most of the time. Sometimes we fool ourselves that what we do isn’t just selling stuff: it’s art.

It’s never art.

Or let me say almost never. Sometimes, some incredibly rare, uncynical times, people like me can actually transcend the grubby little sales messages behind most of what we do and reach our fingertips just a bit higher, to touch the place where the fairy dust gathers on the highest shelf. The people who put the ad below together did that. They had outstanding material to work with, granted, but they did their homework and they put together an advertisement, on behalf of one of the biggest companies in the world, that reflects something good and true, and for this one time only I do not feel like I can see the sales message behind it.

I’ve woven myself a little tale, that the better natures of everyone involved with the advert slipped free from the boardroom and the creative department in the ad agency when they were touched by the pure, driven love of Kerry Hincka, Molly’s mother.